The Barnes & Noble Review
Italians, and northern Italians in particular, are justly famous for knowing how to get the most out of vegetables by doing the least to them. For everyone who has overplanted the garden at home or been tempted by the produce at a farm market and brought way too much home, this elegant little book with its 100 recipes, from artichokes to zucchini, provides plenty of inspiration.
Thoughtfully organized by vegetable, each chapter in Verdure offers a handful of tasty recipes plus basic advice about selection and cooking times for steaming, sautéing, boiling, microwaving, or roasting. Vitale also points out compatible flavors for each vegetable, which is highly useful for devising impromptu menus. (Spinach, for example, has great affinities with butter, olive oil, mild and sharp cheeses, pastry, garlic, smoked meats, walnuts, pine nuts, nutmeg, and more.) From Artichoke Fritatta and Baked Fennel with Béchamel Sauce to Raw Zucchini Salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano, the recipes all look simple and delicious.
The recipes in this slim, very pleasant book "dedicated entirely to vegetables" take the familiar concept of Italian simplicity to a refreshing extreme. Most of them, like Saut ed Cucumbers which has four ingredients, including salt and pepper and Fresh Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Basil are impeccably brief and uncomplicated. Chapters, which are arranged by vegetable, open with amiable introductions and list cooking times for basic preparations like boiling, microwaving and roasting. Interestingly, there are more salads (Fennel Salad) and saut ed side dishes (Saut ed Radicchio in Olive Oil) than pastas. In the occasional headers, Milan native Vitale (Riso) provides personal anecdotes she used to make English Muffin Pizzette for her children as an after-school snack and likes to take Spinach Frittata when she goes sailing on Long Island Sound. In the recipe for Potatoes with Pesto, for example, Vitale recommends including parsley, and, in the introduction to zucchini, she notes that Italian cooks consider zucchini to be past its prime unless the blossom is still attached. With clear, simple instructions, Vitale offers enticing fare, much of it of particular interest in these hot summer days. (July) Forecast: With a pretty cover design and at an excellent price, this cookbook will appeal to the many who want to grace their tables with vegetables Italian style. A rave blurb from Diana Shaw (Almost Vegetarian) will lure buyers. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
“This cookbook will appeal to the many who want to grace their tables with vegetables Italian style.” — Publishers Weekly